Empowering Families wants child care feedback

Lee County's Empowering Families is asking child care providers, employers, parents, HR managers, and others to complete a comprehensive child care study that will be used as part of an ongoing rural child care market study.

Three surveys encompass broad range of child care feedback

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

LEE COUNTY – A push to dig deep into child care issues in Lee County has generated a countywide survey for families and business owners to help the advocacy groups create a plan going forward to help address shortages in the county.

Breanna Kramer-Riesberg, the coordinator for Empowering Families, has put out the polls and they are available until June 15.

Kramer-Riesberg is encouraging all business owners, upper management, human resource personnel, parents and caregivers, and child care providers to take their respective surveys. The surveys can be taken by clicking on the following links:

The business owner/management/HR survey at https://surveymonkey.com/r/LeeCoEmployer.

The parents and caregivers survey at https://surveymonkey.com/r/LeeCoParent.

The child care providers survey at: https://surveymonkey.com/r/LeeCoChildCare.

Companies are asked to fill out just one survey per company.

KRAMER-RIESBERG

Lee County recently received a $10,000 grant as part of a $15,000 rural child care market study conducted by First Children’s Finance, as well as two (Blended Early Learning in Education Foundations (BELIEF) grants that were awarded to Keokuk and Fort Madison school districts to investigate early child care. The studies funded by the grants are being conducted in the same time frames and should provide critical data in mapping out how the county should move forward.

Kramer-Riesberg said the study is a joint effort between Children First, Empowering Families, and the school districts to better understand the challenges and develop a plan for quality, accessible child care.

“The more responses we get, the better data we will have, and the more informed decisions we can make moving forward,” Kramer-Riesberg said.

“This issue impacts our families the most, and your voice is important. The community is listening and your input is needed right now to make changes happen. If you can, remind your friends, family, employers, and child care provider to fill out the survey, too.”

She said the group is looking for both registered and non-registered child care providers. Anyone who regularly watches children for friends or family members who are at work should take the survey, Kramer-Riesberg said.

All responses will remain anonymous.

“We just want to get a good picture of who is providing care and the support that is needed to provide that care,” she said.

Employers of any staffing range are also asked to fill out the surveys to gather necessary information to gauge the impact child care has on employers and the workforce.

She said results should be available in mid to late July and the group will share the market study results widely in the community.

“This is a major concern for families, businesses, and providers right now and we want them to access and use this information for the greater good of our communities,” Kramer-Riesberg said.

“I hope that every parent/caregiver fills out the survey. Even if your kids aren’t currently in child care – take the survey. Even if your parents watch your kids while you work – take the survey. We need a deep understanding of what the need is around child care. I understand that everyone’s situation is different – there is not a one-size fits all approach to child care. So we want to see all types of situations represented through this survey. Analyzing responses from all three surveys will help us better plan for large-scale changes and investment into the child care system.”

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